I’ve been actively trying to get access to Netflix’s new online movie service. My first email response from customer service:
I appreciate you inquiring about âWatch Nowâ? feature, at this time we do not have any information on this feature. I have enclosed the list of plans that are available.
Their response to my second query a few days later:
We appreciate your interest in our new instant viewing feature. At this time, we are enabling members to the program in stages. This is to ensure the best possible experience for all participants. We currently plan on making instant viewing available to all Netflix subscribers by June of 2007. We are currently unable to add subscribers to this program on demand.
Frankly, this irks me. Not because I’ll frequently use this service, but because it’s less than ideal customer service — either enable everyone who asks, or call it a beta and let folks apply. Well, it looks like I got the back-door blogger hookup through their PR department because I’m live now. Though, I suggest everyone who wants access to keep the pressure on Netflix Support to encourage a shift in policy.
There’s been a decent amount of coverage already in the Blogosphere, so I’ll just focus on a few notable items. Yes, this only works on IE via Windows (XP or Vista) — no surprise, I assume they’re using Microsoft’s widely supported DRM (See: Movielink, CinemaNow, Amazon Unbox, Vongo, etc). The movies are more than just streamed, they are cached locally! This should actually provide a better viewing experience (as in: few drop outs) and allow you to move back and forward in the timeline. Which brings me to the next point: No rewind, fast forward, or instant replay buttons exist in the player. That seems short sighted (and beta-like). However, you can drag the slider to any point in a portion of the film that has already been downloaded. My work firewall lets the movie through, perhaps yours will too. ;) Though I’m at the middle tier in terms of speed/quality… Netflix calls it “Good” but I call it “Average.” It’s fine for the price (free) and occasional viewing, but I wouldn’t bother hooking this up to a large screen and/or HD television.